Silent Night, Deadly Night is my favourite seasonal horror franchise.
All five are likable movies, yet Silent Night, Deadly Night: Part 2 stands out as the worst of the bunch. That goes for most all great series does it not? A decent first flick, a few fails and some mediocre yet entertaining sequels all mashed together. SNDN2 is definitely the the most craptacular.
There is true Christmas warmth in my heart for Silent Night, Deadly Night, Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out (which stars Bill Moseley as Ricky, who even though may have looked corny as hell really brought something dark to the character) and yes, Initiation: Silent Night, Deadly Night 4 and Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker featuring Mickey Rooney topped SNDN2.
SNDN2 begins with a interview between a Psychiatrist (James Newman) and his new client, Ricky Cadwell (Eric Freeman) who is the younger brother to Billy Cadwell (Robert Brian Wilson), the infamous Santa Claus killer (SNDN). Within fifteen minutes of the sequel there is already two flash backs of the first movie. What you have to understand to appreciate SNDN2 is that it isn’t so much a feature but a very long trailer for the first installment.
By no means does Ricky’s character measure up to his brother Billy’s. Billy had logical fear and abuse to support his mental breakdown. Wilson gave a good hard go at capturing Billy, you can tell that even though he wasn’t a skilled actor the man took pride in his portrayal. 1984′s SNDN is by far a superior film to the second, and many others in the franchise.
Ricky was expressed lifelessly by Freeman. Not remotely intimidating or vengeful enough for someone who is supposed to be irate over the loss of his family. Newman held it together for his part of the Shrink, which honestly didn’t consist of much more than a few soap opera glances and an overbearing A++++ attitude. It’s not even worth saying that the acting took away from the movie as there was so few new elements to it. In effect Ricky was simply narrating the back story for the first half, while foreshadowing the last half. The first movie is the second movie. Let that sink in a bit…
As the questions between the Therapist and Ricky heat up, Ricky’s own story comes to light. After the massacre, the orphanage where both boys grew up together was ordered to be closed. Sister Mary (Gilmer McCormick) found a nurturing family, the Rosenburg’s, to care for the lad. Cut to a shopping trip with Ricky and his new mother. While she gossips with a friend, Ricky sees two Nun’s walking towards him and appears to mentally crack.
Here is what I am thinking, how much better this movie would have been if they continued with Ricky’s own fear of Nun’s and left St.Nick to his brother? Give the movie a new feel, still keep the theme of Christmas – good and evil. Update it so SNDN2 is not a literal regurgitation of SNDN. Other than the quick scene showing Ricky as a child afraid of some Nuns there was no real indication that his anger stemmed from the abuse and violence at the orphanage.. Ricky even seeks out Mother Superior (Jean Miller) for revenge. It would have been so much better to have used SNDN2 as its own film. Top to bottom, keep it about Ricky, even using some recollections from SNDN, but about his character and not Billy’s. The Best clip is when the camera pans up from Billy’s dead body to his brother standing above him having witnessed the slaying. Keep that, that’s great! Hell, in The Hills Have Eyes 2 a dog had a flashback! There was a great set-up for making Billy completely messed, the opportunity was missed due to bad writing and a lack of imagination. …and probably funds.
There wasn’t room for director/writer Lee Harry to do much at all with the sequel. As I stated it is mostly clips from SNDN. Admittedly, anything new to SNDN2 was under-acted and poorly executed. I don’t know what the story was but screenplay writers Lee Harry and Joseph H. Earle managed to adapt this movie in the worst way possible. Nothing is believable. Why Lee Harry wanted to direct this is unbeknownst to me.
This is a terrible movie. There really is no way around it. But, if you’re a true fan of holiday-gore than this movie is what you’re asking for.
Just remember to be ready when Santa comes to drop it off.